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Progression of Alzheimer Disease in Europe: Data from the European ICTUS Study

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The clinical progression of Alzheimer disease (AD) was studied in European subjects under treatment with AChE inhibitors (AChE-I) in relation to geographical location over a 2-years period. One thousand three hundred and six subjects from 11 European countries were clustered into 3 regions (North, South, West) and investigated with biannual follow-up over 2 years. Primary outcomes were cognitive, functional and behavioral measures. Caregiver burden, hospital admission and admission to nursing home were also recorded. Participant cognitive function declined non-linearly over time (MMSE: -1.5 pts/first year, -2.5 pts/second year; ADAScog: + 3.5 pts/first year, + 4.8 pts/second year), while the progression of behavioral disturbances (NPI scale) was linear. Neither scale showed regional differences, and progression of the disease was similar across Europe despite different health care systems. Functional decline (ADL, IADL) tended to progress more rapidly in Southern Europe (p=0.09), while progression of caregiver burden (Zarit Burden Interview) was most rapid in Northern Europe (5.6 pts/y, p=0.04). Incidences of hospital admission (10.44, 95%CI: 8.13-12.75, p<0.001) and admission to nursing home (2.97, 95%CI: 1.83-4.11, p<0.001) were lowest in Southern Europe. In general cognitive and functional decline was slower than in former cohorts. European geographical location reflecting differences in culture and in health care system does not impact on the progression of AD but does influence the management of AD subjects and caregiver burden.
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Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; NPI; caregiver burden; clinical course; cognitive; cohort study; dementia; europe; functional; geographical variation; hospital admission

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2012

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  • Current Alzheimer Research publishes peer-reviewed frontier review and research articles on all areas of Alzheimer's disease. This multidisciplinary journal will help in understanding the neurobiology, genetics, pathogenesis, and treatment strategies of Alzheimer's disease. The journal publishes objective reviews written by experts and leaders actively engaged in research using cellular, molecular, and animal models. The journal also covers original articles on recent research in fast emerging areas of molecular diagnostics, brain imaging, drug development and discovery, and clinical aspects of Alzheimer's disease. Manuscripts are encouraged that relate to the synergistic mechanism of Alzheimer's disease with other dementia and neurodegenerative disorders. Book reviews, meeting reports and letters-to-the-editor are also published. The journal is essential reading for researchers, educators and physicians with interest in age-related dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Current Alzheimer Research provides a comprehensive 'bird's-eye view' of the current state of Alzheimer's research for neuroscientists, clinicians, health science planners, granting, caregivers and families of this devastating disease.
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